R&F.ca Weekly Update

R&F.ca Weekly Update r1 ... OMG Buzzfeed is unionizing | Combating Alberta's restaurant lobby, worker driven workplace inclusion | Labour upheaval in Bangladesh prompts solidarity actions | West Virginia strikes again, defeating privatization bill in a single day s16
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By Chloe Rockarts

On Tuesday, February 12, Buzzfeed workers in the United States voted to unionize. In Toronto, a majority of the ten BuzzFeed Canada workers filed for union certification with the Canadian Media Guild (CMG), a local of the Communications Workers of America.

Media Workers Organize

The Toronto announcement, which came at the same time as Buzzfeed workers in New York City and Germany announced their successful certification, follows the recent push in the digital media industry towards unionization.

In 2016, workers at VICE Canada voted to join CMG. Workers at Buzzfeed’s Toronto office had been following VICE workers decision to unionize closely, and began having conversations with CMG last year to explore what joining the media union would mean for their workplace. Read more!


Daniel Huber, founder of the Alberta Vanguard Association and Fairserve.ca, reacts to UCP leader Jason Kenney’s new proposal for a sub-minimum wage for youth and alcohol servers in Alberta. Kenney announced that idea at a recent meeting for Restaurants Canada, an industry lobby group opposed to Alberta’s new $15 minimum wage. But Huber, a chef, worker, consultant and now business owner in Edmonton, hopes restaurant workers can organize to make their voices a little louder.

And Tiffany Sostar, narrative therapist and feminist community organizer based in Calgary, discusses the politics of feminist consulting, and how the most effective changes to workplace culture and diversity are driven by workers, not management. Read more!


By Saurav Sarkar

With the sixth anniversary approaching of the Rana Plaza building collapse that killed over 1,000 workers, conditions in the world’s second-largest garment export industry are tumultuous.

Fifty thousand garment workers in Bangladesh struck earlier this month for higher wages and were met with rubber bullets and tear gas. The minimum wage in the garment industry was recently raised 50 percent, but still stands at just $95 a month. Five thousand have been fired as a result of the strikes and property destruction the striking workers are accused of. Bangladesh’s highest court has ordered shut down the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, an innovative institution monitoring workplace health and safety created five years ago. Read more!


By Barbara Madeloni

“Don’t start those buses tomorrow,” said Joe White, executive director of the West Virginia School Service Personnel Association.

He was announcing the second statewide education strike in West Virginia in a year, alongside the leaders of the state’s two teacher unions.

The next morning, February 19, buses throughout the state sat idle in garages.

And by the middle of the day, strikers declared victory with the defeat of an anti-union, pro-privatization education bill in the state House.

West Virginia teachers emboldened educators across the country last year when they struck to defend their health insurance and win raises. But when the legislature returned this January, hostile legislators brought forward an omnibus education bill.
Read more!

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